Dancer shakes off naysay­ers

Geraldton Guardian - - News - Tamra Carr

As a self-con­fessed over­weight belly dancer, Sue Knighton, 54, ad­mits to sometimes get­ting the cold shoul­der from peo­ple when they dis­cover her pre­ferred style of dance.

The Ger­ald­ton in­struc­tor says when peo­ple think of the Ara­bic dance, they of­ten pic­ture an ex­otic young girl float­ing through a room, but Knighton in­sists the ex­pres­sive art form is open to peo­ple of all shapes and sizes.

“A long time ago I went and saw a natur­opath for weight loss and she said I should try belly danc­ing,” Knighton says.

“Af­ter­wards I was walk­ing across the oval at Walk­a­way Pri­mary School where I over­heard Tif­fany Holt — she’s now my best friend — say she was go­ing to go belly danc­ing.

“I sort of went, ‘oh wow, can I come?’ and it started from there.”

Knighton says she had heard a lot of mis­con­cep­tions about what belly danc­ing was.

“I’ve heard peo­ple say, ‘oh you’re those pole dancers’, or ‘you’re too old’, or ‘you have too big of a belly’. Th­ese peo­ple don’t un­der­stand. It’s not about your size, it’s about your in­ter­nals. You’re us­ing your core mus­cles,” she says. “The moves are so in tune with your body, it’s re­ally for ev­ery­one.”

Knighton has been teaching belly dance classes to adults and chil­dren in Ger­ald­ton for the past nine years and is cur­rently as­sisted by co-in­struc­tor Ta­mara Hunt.

Her main mo­ti­va­tion for hold­ing dance lessons, par­tic­u­larly with young girls, is to en­cour­age them to be com­fort­able in their own skins. She says while she was never par­tic­u­larly shy, she prob­a­bly didn’t love her­self as much as she should have un­til she started to belly dance.

“Now, I like me, I like me a lot,” she says. “I love ev­ery­thing about belly danc­ing. Even if you have two left feet you can belly dance.

“The moves are so in tune with your body. It’s re­ally for ev­ery­one.

“I sup­pose I want to show young girls that they don’t have to fit into a mould. I want to build their self-es­teem and con­fi­dence, be­cause you are who you are.”

Pic­ture: Tamra Carr

Sue Knighton (right) and co-dance in­struc­tor Ta­mara Hunt with some of their belly dance stu­dents.

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